An Opportunity to Help

Published by Matthew Johnson on

Early this spring, I was doing some gardening work with my brother in my backyard when he excitedly mentioned his plans to host an orphan from Ukraine over the summer. I had heard that he and his wife were considering orphan hosting and thought it was a cool idea; I had grumbled to Christy that “I wish we could take action in some way like that”. But when by brother showed me a photo of a girl who had no host family and asked if I knew anyone who could host her, something clicked. It was the answer to my prayers, like God saying to me: “Don’t hide from relatives who need your help.” Almost immediately, I knew that my family could do this – I wanted to do this!

Next Steps

The next steps were a bit more awkward, as I learned about the harshness of orphan hosting: the kids come to America with the clothes on their back and usually no knowledge of the English language, they often gorge themselves on food because they’re underfed – and then throw up, they wash their underwear in the shower, they could be violent and abusive, they might be addicted to their devices. But I called the phone number my brother gave me and talked to the man on the other end of the phone as he told me about the opportunity and what he knew about the girl we were interested in hosting. He had lots to talk about, and told me that he had just returned from Ukraine with another adopted child. As I asked more questions, the man was quick to give me the honest picture of what we were signing up for.

Unknowns and Unconditional Love

Orphan hosting is essentially volunteering to parent someone else’s kid, to care for and feed and clothe a child who has been through more hurt and harm than anyone knows, to expose your family to hurt and heartache, and to love them unconditionally all the time. There are so many unknowns, and yet one consistent requirement: love. As I considered whether to say “Yes” to hosting a fourteen-year-old girl from Ukraine, that’s what Christy and I were afraid of: the unknowns, and whether we could really love someone and bring them into our home.

But this was a huge answer to my prayer – no longer could I claim that I didn’t know any one who fit the description in Isaiah 58:7. Now I did know someone who was hungry, homeless, and needed clothes. I could see her face – I knew her name! And so, the day after Easter, I texted the man back and said “Yes”. And within minutes, the picture on the Facebook site had a comment below it: “Going to Colorado”.